Earnings Watch: Q3 earnings kicks off with a warning from Shell

By Peter Garnry, Head of Equity Strategy at Saxo

The warning from Royal Dutch Shell 's CEO and the bad outlook from AMD and Samsung over the past 24 hours are evidence that the Q3 earnings season is most likely going to disappoint.

We have been arguing for quite some time that the Q3 earnings season will surprise to the downside. The recent string of worse than expected results from Nike and H&M, and now also AMD disappointing last night and Samsung this morning missing estimates on Q3 operating income by 12%, are clear signs of what awaits investors. The energy and mining sectors were among the strong contributors in Q2 holding up the aggregate earnings figures, but Royal Dutch Shell ’s CEO said yesterday that Q3 earnings will be lower q/q due to lower profitability in its refining and chemicals businesses.

The list below shows all the most important earnings releases next week. Consumer oriented companies such as PepsiCo , Walgreens Boots Boots, and Delta Air Lines are important earnings to watch for updating our information picture on the consumer amid the cost-of-living crisis. On Friday, several large US financial institutions will report earnings with our focus on JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup , and Wells Fargo . The key things to watch for in US bank results are their ability to increase their net interest margin and the credit provisions.

Wednesday: PepsiCo
Thursday: Progressive , Fast Retailing, Tryg , Walgreens Boots Boots Alliance, Fastanal, BlackRock , Delta Air Lines , Domino’s Pizza
Friday: Shanghai Putailai New Energy, YTO Express Group, PNC Financial Services , JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley , Citigroup , UnitedHealth Group , Wells Fargo , US Bancorp,First Republic Bank

Analysts are too optimistic

In our view the bad Q3 earnings season will be a function of both weakening numbers from companies but also unrealistic expectations. The chart below shows the realized quarterly earnings per share for S&P 500 and here we already observe that realized Q3 earnings are behind estimates and that estimates are suggesting strong earnings growth into Q4. This seems very unrealistic to us given the wage pressures that CEOs are complaining about and highlighting as the biggest short-term risk to profitability.

S p 500 earnings

The EPS estimates for S&P 500 are $224.98 in 2022 and $243.22, suggesting companies can grow earnings close to trend growth and even expand profit margins to record highs in 2023. We find it very hard to reconcile with the current macro backdrop of tighter financial conditions, war in Ukraine, an energy crisis, and China’s growth slowing down. The high inflation will help revenue growth in nominal terms but it will increase wage demands to offset decline in purchasing power and thus we believe the most realistic dynamic from here is lower profit margin.

We expect the net profit margin to decline to 11.3% from 12.6% in 2021 and if apply the estimates on revenue for 20233 of $1801 then our EPS estimate for 2023 is $203.51 which is 16% lower than the current consensus estimate. This translates into a 2023 P/E ratio of 18.4 or earnings yield of 5.4% which one could argue is not an adequate risk premium of US government bond yields and investment grade bonds.

One could also argue that the revenue estimate for 2023 is a bit too optimistic as it implies a 4.1% growth rate which might be difficult, but now we are going with this estimate. Dividend futures for 2023 are currently priced at $64.80 which is actually a decline from the expected 2022 dividends of $65.52. A slowdown in dividends is more consistent we our estimate for earnings in 2023 and would take the payout ratio back to 31.9% which again would be closer to the recent average.